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Sustainability: All That Matters Paperback – 26 Oct 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (26 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444174401
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444174403
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.3 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 186,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Book Description

All That Matters about sustainability. All That Matters books are a fast way to get right to the heart of

key issues.

About the Author

Chris Goodall is a highly regarded writer and campaigner on environmental issues. Educated at Cambridge University and Harvard Business School, he is one of the leading global voices on sustainability. He writes regularly for the Guardian, and on his widely followed blog 'Carbon Commentary'.

Chris is an award winning writer. Ten Technologies to Save the Planet was listed in the Financial Times Books of the Year. How to Live a Low-Carbon Life won the Clarion Award for non-fiction and was described by the New Scientist as 'the definitive guide for reducing your carbon footprint.'


Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
For such a short book, (only 126 pages ignoring the final "100 ideas" chapter), "Sustainability" covers a lot of ground, and addresses matters that most readers, even the most environmentally aware, will probably never have thought about much, such as the world's use of steel and cement. There are surprising ideas; one I particularly liked, was that if manufacturers make profits from renting out rather than selling products, then they will be motivated to make things that last as long as possible rather than things that wear out. "Sustainability" will probably manage to challenge many potential readers by coming out against some favourite "green" practices: the book advocates the use of synthetic rather than natural materials; is sceptical about organic methods of food production; the author believes that nuclear power is essential if the world is to reduce its use of fossil fuels. Chapters on food, steel, clothing, and energy summarise the differing sustainability challenges these economic sectors face.
A contrarian streak pervades the book, which advocates economic growth as the way to achieving sustainability. The author believes that Earth's resources are sufficient to provide everyone with a high standard of living provided we recycle materials efficiently and develop alternatives to materials which run short. He justifies this perhaps surprising belief by numerical and scientific arguments, which is one of the things I most like about the book: Chris Goodall is not afraid of using calculations to attempt to answer questions, and even if you disagree with his figures, the methods he uses are a useful way to think about the issues.
As someone who is very pessimistic about the outlook for the world forty or fifty years from now, "Sustainability" provides some comfort.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a topic which provokes strong emotions and polarised points of view; a topic which needs to be written about in a disappasionate manner in order to be effective (after all if all you're trying to do is 'preach' to the converted rather than persuade the 'unconverted' then what's the point?). As with many other publications on this subject Chris Goodall's book is much stronger on analysis than proposals for change. Perhaps this is a reflection of the extent to which argumentation is too often opaque. The quality of argumentation is critical in this type of book. It needs to be well honed and accurate, carefully crafted - with all sources accurately cited so that arguments stand up to scrutiny. The author doesn't always do this so perhaps stronger editing was needed in order to make this text stand out from the crowd.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is an amazing, but ultimately very scary book. Like all scary stories, the author draws you in slowly, carefully; and then comes Chapter 4 and you realise just what awaits you. It would be much easier of course if the author was some `tree hugger' intent on scaring you with well-told stories and simple hype, but you realise that the facts are presented with a smooth, logical and entirely credible progression that makes this volume much more scary than any work of fiction. I suggest that every person should be presented with one of these perhaps at the age of 16: for the author makes it clear that if we are to leave more than a barren rock-covered dust-bowl for our children, then we had all better get on the programme and this book makes very clear just how much work there is to do - and we had better do so pretty quickly.

The chapters are laid out beautifully with the main problematic areas and I particularly enjoyed ( or was terrified by! ) the discussion about beef, cotton, water and of course over-fishing, over cultivation of land and unfortunately many, many more.

Even more than this, however, the thing that frightens me even more is the fact that I suspect that the Earth is supporting as many humans as it possibly can. I base this on any newspaper that one may care to pick up. The terrible natural disasters that occur in over populated, over farmed, flood-plain-built areas or areas that have been denuded of natural protection like a forest ! In addition, the scramble for natural resources that I suspect is only just hotting up and I wonder what will become of old Blighty when much more affluent countries have bought up all the oil or perhaps the wheat - and just what are we going to do about it - not a lot I fancy.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Sustainability is a great value read which covers a broad selection of topics, but rather than diving too deeply into the nuances of each of area, takes key points as a way of representing an over all argument. This argument, as Chris admits, is a contentious one, is that sustainability does not necessarily require a massive reduction in the quality of living that people have grown used to or in fact that it requires the over all reduction in GDP. This is at odds with the standard views of the eco band camp (which I am undecided if I am in or not).

The book is decidedly negative about humanities current situation, however, rather than goading the population, Chris is optimistic and discusses how we can turn the boat of progress onto a more sustainable path rather than demanding an overarching stop to it. However, although he admits and acknowledges that this is not easy, he does not provide many answers.

This in my opinion is the best part of this book, however was going to be my major gripe with it (until I reached the final section). This book, to me, is a starting point, and a reference point of brining the many strains of human sustainability on earth. It gives you vectors to look into, while still understanding that vectors connection with the over all picture. However, although it is notated with many concise and useful diagrams illustrating points, it does not give vary many references for the reader to conduct further research.
However, the 100 ideas section at the end of the book provides an original form of bibliography with 100 sections of interest and their corresponding research locations.

Overall, a good read with interesting points and a great concise book to refer to for anyone with an interest in this area for a very reasonable cost.
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